PBI supports women human rights defenders in Nepal

Published by Brent Patterson on

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On September 19, the Nepal Monitor posted on its Facebook page, “Nepal Monitor’s training and outreach officer Ambika Paudel and documentation and protection officer Subekshya Freedom interview Women’s Human Rights Defender Lalita Chaudary during their peer-learning evaluation in Saptari District.”

It adds, “During the trip our team also spent time with WHRDs [women human rights defenders] in Siraha District and Dhanusa District.”

Amnesty International’s 2017-18 country report on Nepal notes that the “Constitutional amendments [which came into effect on September 20, 2015] did not fully guarantee equal rights to citizenship for women…”

That report also highlighted that, “Gender-based discrimination continued to undermine women’s and girls’ ability to control their sexuality and make informed choices related to reproduction; to challenge early and forced marriages; and enjoy adequate antenatal and maternal health care.”

In November 2018, Dubravka Šimonović, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women, stated in this media release, “Available data indicates that gender-based violence against women is the leading identifiable trigger for violent deaths of women in Nepal in 2017.”

She added that insufficient safe shelters and lack of awareness among women of their rights contributed to the high level of impunity of perpetrators, with 66 per cent of women who had experienced physical or sexual violence choosing not to seek help.

On June 28, 2019, PBI-Switzerland Advocacy Coordinator Kim-Mai Vu addressed the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva and stated, “The Government of Nepal needs to take all necessary measures to guarantee the security of women human rights defenders that challenge the culture of impunity.”

Peace Brigades International provided accompaniment to human rights defenders in Nepal from 2006 to 2013. That was in the immediate aftermath of the 1996-2006 Nepalese Civil War (also known as the Maoist Insurgency) in which the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) overthrew the Nepalese monarchy.

At that time, PBI developed the Nepal Monitor.

Now, as noted in the PBI 2018 Annual Review, “Two international and five Nepali staff members based in Kathmandu coordinate the Nepal Monitor, an initiative established to provide protection and to prevent conflict by mapping security incidents and human rights violations in the country.”

The Nepal Monitor is now an initiative of the Collective Campaign for Peace (COCAP), a Kathmandu-based national network of 43 peace and human rights non-governmental organizations, supported by Peace Brigades International.

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